The Satchel Review - Saturday October 20, 2012 ('Go Girl' Week!)

After last week's anti-misogynist mantra from Prime Minister Julia Gillard reverberated around the world, and we learnt of the plight of the little heroic 15-year-old girl-fighter (with pens, not guns) Malala Yousafzai, it was heartening to see that the girls were having a much better week.

Hilary Mantel won the Man Booker Prize with Bring Up the Bodies making her the first woman and first British author to win the award twice. "You wait 20 years for a Booker prize and then two come along at once," she said.

She was called "the greatest modern English prose writer" by chairman of the Booker judges Sir Peter Stothard. There is still one more book in her historical trilogy featuring Thomas Cromwell to come. Notably, Australian author Peter Carey is one of two other authors two be a double-Booker winner.

Then CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley ("Don't you just love alliterative names in a TV journalist – just so...?!" noted my aunt) was the moderator for the second (and much better) Obama/Romney debate in the US.

While accused of "an act of journalistic terror" for interjecting at one point in the debate, and for bias toward President Obama, the role is testimony to the 64-year-old's considerable professional expertise. Criticism comes with the turf.

Does it take two SNL comic actresses to make one Ricky Gervias performance? 'Course not! Whichever way you want to look at it (whether through the prism of misogyny or not), it is almost guaranteed that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will will be thoroughly entertaining in their roles as hosts of the Golden Globes come January, because they are very funny.   

No surprise, but girls can spell really well! Page 14 of The Courier-Mail on Wednesday said it all: "They are the 'Jen-Masters' of Centenary State High School". Two young ladies, Jennifer Vu, 14, and Jennifer Yu, 17, will face off in the newspaper's Spelling Bee final (Years 8-12) next Wednesday with three other finalists.

"I don't find it strange because if anyone deserves to win, it's her," said Jennifer Vu. "We are from the same school, so if anyone one it would be a bonus." That's the spirit!

This week was also Down Syndrome Awareness Week, and so I watched a video talk by Amy Julia Becker called 'For All People' at Qideas. Becker, who has a child with Down syndrome, imagines a world where life is not valued only for its productivity and all children are seen as a gift; no matter their ability. 

I just loved seeing the story of Glen Sheppard, the 33-year-old author born with Down syndrome and diagnosed also with severe autism. He was 16-and-a-half before he learned to communicate using a plastic keyboard and a translator, and celebrated his 33rd birthday with the launch of his second book at Cup from Above cafe.

Apparently, seven people helped him to complete his six-years-in-the-making murder mystery: 188,000 characters transcribed by hand from the plastic QWERT keyboard! Isn't that wonderful?! 

Between standing up for a command of the English language, comedy, politics, carers and the rights of Pakistani girls to an education... girls are winning all over the shop, and we are not surprised at all. And we love the blokes who support them, too, and anyone who can accomplish things that surprise and delight despite the odds.

This is less a gender war, more an alliance for the goodness of society as a whole. And did you hear that Australia has been received on the 15-country UN Security Council (albeit for a temporary stint) after Kevin Rudd kick-started the process during his prime ministerial tenure? Good team work all 'round... more on all to come.

Extra reporting: Catherine Andrews.


frangipani princess said...

I love when people are able to see/celebrate what people with Down Syndrome are capable of. Our local ABC recently made a video about my brother, and it got such a great response online that they're airing it on ABC24 next month.
Here's the link:

Seeing people overcome adversity and accomplish amazing things is one of the best things in the world.